Madden NFL 10  
Madden NFL 10
Madden NFL 10

Producer: Electronic Arts
Release Date: August 14, 2009
Platform: Playstation 3
Rating: Everyone
Genre: Sports

4 stars


The Turducken of Games
Written by Josh Moorhead

If there was any doubt that my manhood was intact since football season ended last winter it all went away when I was nearly brought to tears watching the opening for this year’s edition of Madden Football. In 100 years John Madden will be long dead (God rest his golden but gravy filled heart) but kids will still be playing Madden NFL Football 110 as if it were Washington’s America 1776. That is to say Madden has become an institution, it’s just American. If you don’t play Madden you’re a terrorist.

Okay okay okay, that’s taking things a little too far. There have been rivals to EA’s sometimes described as “evil” stranglehold on the NFL license over the years. ESPN and the 2k brand actually got some good shots in there but now Madden stands alone, which is kind of a mixed bag. As American as John Madden, NFL football and their passionate marriage on game consoles is the monopoly they run is down right Soviet. Once a year we all line up in August, huddled together waiting for our portioned serving of Madden. It’s like a soup line. We don’t know whether it’ll be hot, cold, excellent bisque or tasteless broth. In that sense Madden, or rather EA is a bit more like Stalin.

But thankfully this year the evil empire and its fearless leader have delivered so much so that I will now resort back to my original comparison of EA and Madden as fearless American heroes. Heroes that make mistakes, that are debated, but heroes nonetheless. Case-in-point: I felt last years edition was a little too complicated somehow, a little too fast, the renders of athletes were unrecognizable, the run game was practically impossible, the prominent presence of Madden IQ depressed me, the presentation was sleek to a fault, disconnecting the player from the experience. And in 10 all of that has been addressed. Guess who looks like Wade Phillips in Madden NFL 10? Wade Phillips. Guess who looks like Kurt Warner? Kurt Warner. That is to say these people are finally discernable. They have faces and more distinct body types. Now not every coach is either a fat white blob or a skinny black stick. The personalities the fans see on Sunday are present every time the PS3 is powered up. Speaking of power this is what I wanted out of an HD football experience. Stadiums, turf, jerseys and skin are detailed, colorful; sharp. EA knows it too. During loading screens its advertised how this is the most animated Madden yet, with hand towels that blow on the wind and other serene details.

The motto for this year’s Madden is actually if you see it on Sunday, you see it in the game. This has never been truer, we see fans tailgating pre-game, officials measuring first downs; even the scrum for fumbles is animated and requires fighting game like button precision to come up with possession. But the pretty bow that Madden’s wrapped in… okay let me try that again with more testosterone, the bacon that Madden’s wrapped in wouldn’t be anything if the sausage under it wasn’t great (that still sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) But the sausage is good. The game play mechanics are much improved here. The game is slowed down, which sounds like it might be a disadvantage but actually speaks to the reality of the pro game. Getting a grip of this year’s Madden is like being a rookie quarterback coming into his own, as they often say “the game slows down for them.” Once you learn how to breathe and stay in the pocket you’ll be rewarded with more consistent, more open receivers. The quarterbacking this year is much more detailed, from stats to pocket presence you’ll have to play to your QB’s strengths more than ever before. For instance, I threw 4 interceptions with Brett Favre in his new purple and gold trying the long ball before I finally realized slants were where his strength lied. I then went undefeated on the season and won the Super Bowl (okay, with a few restarted games).

The presentation of this years Madden over all is much better, highlighting the drama and glory of the game with home screens depicting fans and players in the heat of the moment. Franchise runs at a good clip, though it lacks some detail from past years. I miss the faux sports radio broadcasts and local news coverage of 07 for example. But what players do get for the first time ever is a weekly highlight and an analysis show hosted by real live human beings. This, although not always detailed, is impressive. Call it Madden Sportscenter. And if discussion and debate from real humans is what you look for, the online game is in full swing, offering for the first time an online franchise mode is offered where you and up to 32 buddies can play a season. I’d tell you more what this is like if I had 32 buddies who didn’t mind putting video games on credit.

Overall living under the Madden dictatorship is great, and is much improved from years past. From packaging to playing this Madden should be remembered fondly, and should definitely be the one to buy if you’re the “buy a new Madden every few years” type. I know I was, but had to get a fix for the mostly bad taste 09 left in my mouth. Madden 10 delivers a delicious cleansing of the palette as American as apple pie.

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